A tale of food, confidence and a 37-hour labor

Whenever I would tell a fellow Southerner about my plan to have a drug-free water birth, I would always receive the same reaction: skepticism and a lecture about how painful it would be. Although I would always answer their criticism with the same reply, "I have never been in labor so I know it may be too painful — I am just going to try." What can I say? I am people pleaser. It is not in my nature to challenge those who seem more experienced. In my heart I knew I could do it. I could only think of one thing that might shake my confidence: a long labor.

A laidback hospital birth story from Sweden

When I started with contractions in the evening, I figured a bath might be nice to soothe and it was — but the contractions soon ramped up to every five minutes. This meant no Kindle reading for me (I had such pleasant ideas for early labour like watching a movie together and reading in bed), so we went for a walk around the block. By the time we were back to our house I was feeling so nauseous with every fourth minute wave that we decided to call the hospital (got the hubster to do it as I have serious speaking Swedish nerves), and we went in.

Four days of labor ended in an emergency Cesarean section

Two hours after every time I ate, I would have the Cytotec inserted, and be checked for progression. By Friday evening, I was having steady contractions, so after dinner, I wasn't given any Cytotec. I was only dilated 1 1/2 cm. I was in pain, and panicky at this point. I told Jonathan, "I'm sick because of the baby being inside me. The quicker she gets out, the quicker I get better. I want a Cesarean section." He told me that wasn't in my birth plan, and tried to calm me down.

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My doula didn't answer her phone but I had a good hospital delivery anyway

I enjoyed working with the doula and thinking about how I could "reframe" pain and manage my panic in labor (panic is a big thing for me). I also prepared "birth affirmations" and put them on index cards for the doula to read to me when I started to panic during labor. I also read a wonderful book called The Big Book of Birth that gave much information about labor both physiologically and psychologically.

All about my uneventful hospital birth and my plans to home birth the rest of my kids

Our daughter's birth proved two things. One, that indeed there were reasons why a person from a developing country might reject this first world's interpretation of healthcare. I don't blame any single employee or system for my water breaking or the tub or any of the hospital-related unpleasantries. Those just come with the territory of business. Two, and more importantly, it proved to my boyfriend that many women are capable of giving birth on their own.